Once Upon A Time season 3 episode 11 review: Going Home

Review Kylie Peters 16 Dec 2013 - 07:29

Once reaches its mid-season finale, which is an emotional ride for some. Here's Kylie's review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.11 Going Home

“And what do you think fairytales are? They are a reminder that things will get better if we just hold on to hope.”

The winter finale of Once season three rolls onto the scene like Regina on a rampage: relentless, single-minded, and ready to crush some hearts into dust. The angst-filled offering brings the Neverland arc to a close and, after a long wrap-up scene, teases us with a few minutes of next spring’s new story arc.

Pan, still in Henry’s body, takes Felix’s heart and crushes it as the final ingredient for his curse on Storybrooke. Using a convenient magic artifact called the wand of the Black Fairy, Rumple returns Pan and Henry to their proper bodies. This means Henry now has the curse scroll, which he gives to Regina, who as its creator is the only person who can undo Pan’s spell. But Pan escapes Rumple’s guard, stifles his magic, and is about to kill Bae when Rumple rushes to the scene.

The final confrontation between father and son reinforces what a truly awful person Pan is. In a show full of horrible parents, he is the first to lack a single iota of love for his son. With his Dark One dagger, Rumple stabs him—and in doing so, stabs himself as well. Pan turns back into his adult form, and he and Rumple disappear in a flash of light that we are supposed to interpret as death.

I really don’t understand why Rumple had to stab Pan in such a way that he also stabbed himself. He says, “The only way for you to die is if we both die,” but where did he get that idea from? Couldn’t he have gone for an outward thrust instead of the hug-stab? Did I miss something here? In any case, I wasn’t too upset about Rumple dying even though he is tied for my favorite character because 1) He is way too popular to kill, 2) Flashes of light are a suspiciously vague method of death, and 3) They didn’t even have the guts to kill the frickin’ the Blue Fairy. Have they killed off any well-liked non-evil characters since Sheriff Graham in early season 1? The closest thing I can remember is Pinocchio turning into a little kid (which was basically a way of getting rid of his character without killing him).

After Rumple and Pan are gone, Regina prepares to use the scroll to stop Pan’s curse. The price, though (magic always has one) is that Regina can never again see the thing she loves most, Henry. Storybrooke will disappear as though it never existed, and its residents will return to the Enchanted Forest. The exceptions are Henry, who is not from the Enchanted Forest, and Emma, who as the Savior can stay there. Both will forget that Storybrooke ever existed, but Regina gives them new, good memories of living together.

The fandom seems to be dissolving into a collective pool of tears right now, so I expect I’ll be making some enemies when I say that, like Rumple’s death, the neverending farewell-to-Storybrooke scene didn’t do much for me. This was because, like Rumple’s death, I knew it wasn’t really goodbye. If this were the final episode of the series, it would have been perfect (and I would have been bawling). If it was a season finale and the future of the show was unconfirmed, it would have worked. But this is a midseason finale. What’s the rest of the season going to be, Emma and Henry in New York eating pancakes? I don’t think so.

I’m sure there are some people who can put themselves in the characters’ shoes and feel their emotional pain simply because for the characters, it is real. I am not so generous. I don’t think, as viewers, we should have to make an active effort to understand how characters feel. That should just happen by itself. But that can’t happen when their writer-y maneuverings are so glaring. There need to be stakes for us as viewers. If the writers aren’t prepared to kill off beloved characters or make plot twists that drastically and permanently change the nature of the show, they shouldn’t pretend they are going to. It’s a tease. 

Nevertheless, the farewell scene managed a few good moments. Regina and Henry exchange affections and apologies. Emma says goodbye to both prongs of her love triangle (yessss!). Snow, Charming, and Emma bid a sad but contented farewell to their brief days as a family.

One year later, Emma and Henry’s idyllic pancake-eating, waking-up-at-8:15 life is interrupted by Hook, who says Emma’s family is in trouble and needs her help. Surprise! (Okay but seriously, was anybody surprised? Anybody? There were only about 7 million people watching, there’s got to be somebody.)

The flashbacks in this episode, unusually, cover a hodge-podge of characters, times, and places. They lack coherence, but make up for it with a flexibility that allows them to match perfectly with what is happening in the present. They serve both to remind us of plot points and to add depth to the current arc. In one flashback, we are reminded of how Emma gave Henry up after birthing him; in another, we see the same scene but as it is in Emma’s new memories, where she decides to keep Henry. It works quite well.

In other news, the Blue Fairy is revived, Tinkerbell gets her wings back, and a flashback reveals how Snow (as Mary Margaret) found Henry’s Once Upon a Time fairytale book in her closet as if by magic.

Things are going to change a lot in the second half of the season. Storybrooke is gone, so it looks like most of the action will take place in the Enchanted Forest. Hopefully Emma’s denial phase doesn’t last long; we already saw that all through season 1. We will also have a new Big Bad, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (the book, not the film; the book is in the public domain, but the film rights still belong to Warner Brothers). Once Upon a Time returns on the 9th of March, 2014.

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, The New Neverland, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

I know Once Upon A Time tends to drag things out a bit but this midseason finale was just perfect in my opinion. I love the ending, Emma&Hook. The cinnamon :)

The Wicked Witch from the books?! The one eyed not green monstrosity? That would be a improvement. But Oz, again? I'd rather see more from Frankenstein's black and white world. Vampires and werewolfs and stuff. Or is that going to get it's own spin off to?

Oh, I just see on Facebook that she's green and has two eyes. So far so standard Oz movie fare.

I'm sorry, what I said was misleading. Yeah, she's still green. I was reading an article about how Disney got around copyright for Oz The Great and Powerful, and apparently they found a shade of green that was OK with Warner Brothers' lawyers. (Don't ask me how that works.) There were a bunch of other things they couldn't take though because it was movie-specific, like the ruby slippers. So on the whole it will have to be book Oz in Once, unless they find more weird loopholes.

Kylie, I've got to agree with you. Unless they grow some balls and actually start killing people off and dramatically changing things, then OUAT is just sort of loosing its bite to me. I mean, come off it...you can't even kill the blue fairy? Really? No one even really LIKES the blue fairy. That being said, the day Rumple really dies is the day I quit watching this show (i'm pretty sure, like you said, they didn't have the balls to really do it this time)

Yeah why the heck did he have to kill himself too? There was nothing that hinted towards that, or did I just miss something? Oh and yes. thank you for bringing up the denial phase, thats going to be....something :/

Why did Hook have to go back to the enchanted forest anyways? Isn't he supposed to be from Neverland? At least now Hook and Emma have a chance ;)

no, hook is from the enchanted forest too...or wherever rumple was from originally...I think thats the enchanted forest but it was never explicitly said.

The blue fairy should have stayed dead. No one cares about her, but the public has grown fond of Tinker Bell, I think. Blue should have died and Tink should have reovered her wings anyway, and eventually become the new Blue.

Thanks for your reaction! I already found it weird that Disney could make a movie about Oz when Warner still hold the rights. Suprisingly the Warner Bros. produced series Supernatural had an Oz episode recently with a grey skinned Wicked Witch.

Hook is actually from England, remember? ;P His King sent him on a quest to Neverland long ago with his brother, lol. I was really expecting him to speak up and say "hey I belong on Earth too"

actually....he wasn't necessarily from england. just a place that functioned alot like england. Except that they had a real pegusus to make a sail from. So, yea i think you could plausibly make a case for hook being from the enchanted forest. Otherwise, how else did he meet with rumple's wife?

What do you mean 'again'? When has Oz featured at all in the show, aside from hints and inferences?

Though your talk about "spin off to [sic]" makes me think you've confused Oz with Wonderland.

You get me wrong. I don't mean 'again' Oz in Once, but in general. We've had a Disney prequel movie, a SciFi channel miniseries (geven that was some years ago), the musical Wicked, some episodes in Supernatural, but also a lot of shows that are in pre production right now, at least three. I love me some Oz, I just don't like overkill.
Also all these shows and movies are more based on MGM's The Wizard of Oz rather than on the books. Which are different in some key elements I understand.

I think that the reason why rumple and pan have to die both because the way to kill the dark one is stab that knife and who is stab the dark one will turn to the dark one himself. So, if they both die, the dark one is over.
Ps. I hope rumple be back by somehow

Yeah I mean I didn't mind having the Blue Fairy die. I wouldn't be able to watch again or respect the show again if they didn't bring Rumple back. He's my favorite character and I love him with all my heart. I originally got hooked on the show because of Robert Carlyle. If they kill him off for good it will be another Lost where they killed off my favorite character and I'd seriously be ticked off. I would hate if this show went off air and if Rumple dies I'm pretty sure it will end in that direction. I loved how Hook is the one taking them home though. I got upset when I thought Rumple was dead only because they killed off Locke. I kinda can't wait to see next season and if they do come back making him a lead with Hook. If that happens with the addition of excellent characters and amazing adaptations I can see this show lasting for a very long time.

Sponsored Links